I had the opportunity to represent Massena while attending Governor Cuomo’s State of the State and Budget Address this past week in Albany, and I was impressed with his ambitious agenda for the upcoming Legislative session.
More than any other Governor, Governor Cuomo has focused on upstate and that was very evident as he outlined his vision to address the difficult issues of our time.
I was delighted to hear of his proposal to reduce the tax rate on small businesses from 6.5 to 4%. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and reducing their taxes will retain and create jobs.
Education is the one item that has the broadest impact on the many issues we face here in New York. The Governor’s proposal to increase school funding by $2.1 billion will help reduce crime, build the ladder to lift people out of poverty, strengthen the middle class, prepare our children to compete in a global economy, and boost the economic wellbeing of all New Yorker’s.
Additionally, the Governor is moving the State toward universal Pre-K. As a former Co-Chair of Fight Crime – Invest in Kids, New York, I have seen the compelling data that demonstrates that early intervention and Pre-K improves our children’s success in school.
His focus on improving education goes much further with proposed investments in SUNY and CUNY, the elimination of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, and a tax credit for teachers that spend their own money to provide supplies to their students.
Governor Cuomo understands we live in a dangerous world and he is proposing increased funding in public safety to protect our citizens and assets by permanently deploying more National Guard and State Police, improving intelligence sharing, and investing in equipment.
He is proposing significant investments in a number of areas including critical infrastructure, tourism, and the upstate transportation system.
I listened, with great interest, about the Governor’s plan to invest in downtown revitalization. In my upcoming budget I will be proposing that Massena take a new approach to improve our downtown. I believe that in order to rebuild the core of our community, we must allocate our own local resources that are also supported by Regional and State initiatives. This public investment will help leverage private funds and assist with reinventing our downtown.
Finally, I was very pleased to hear the Governor is spending considerable time proposing government reform in order to improve public integrity of State government. He is calling for lobbying reform, limiting outside income of legislators, closing the LLC loophole, exposing the Legislature to greater public scrutiny by requiring them to operate under the same standard local governments do with regard to the Freedom of Information Law, and taking pensions away from state officials who are convicted of crimes related to their public work.
The Governor’s plan is ambitious and progressive, yet maintains his commitment to fiscal discipline and efficiency. I look forward to watching the Legislative and the Executive branches work together to move New York forward and improve the North Country.